When shopping for skincare products, those with dry skin types will benefit from specific ingredients. Rhee recommends keeping an eye out for ingredients that will help retain moisture (humectants), that will restore your skin barrier, and that will lock the moisture in. Some examples of humectants include hyaluronic acid, glycerin/glycerol, sorbitol, and propylene glycol. Aloe vera also has humectant properties. Occlusives seal moisture in, and those include petrolatum or petroleum jelly.
Ceramides are another important ingredient, as they are an integral component of the outermost layer of the skin, the stratum corneum. “They are naturally occurring fats, also known as lipids, that comprise the essential lipid bilayer structure of our skin,” explains Rhee. “It’s this specialized lipid structure that allows our skin to be supple, soft, and effectively provide a barrier from would-be irritants. Perpetually dry skin often has an imbalance or deficiency of ceramides. Look for ingredients labeled as simply ceramide (ceramide 1, 2, 3, 6, II, AP, EOS, EOP, NG, NP, or NS) or ceramide precursors (phytosphingosine and sphingosine). Other names to look for are N-stearoyl sphinganine, N-stearoyl phytosphingosine, α-hydroxy-N-stearoylphytosphingosine, Caproyl sphingosine, Cetyl-PG-Hydroxyethyl Palmitamide, and Hexadecanamide.”